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So today, I am filled with all the excitement to listen to a radio play called "Temple Under the Sea" from the series Chandu the Magician, which aired March 24, 1949. I would also like to share something the Illustrious Acquaintance told me. They very rightly pointed out that just because no one reads this column does not mean I have to continue being an asshole about shows which are obviously not going to be the epitome of woke sensitivity. I explained that I was just looking for soft targets so I can write on the internet and live my best life. But apparently, this is part and parcel of being an asshole. So, even though this is probably going to be problematic as fuck, I am going to try and not be a jerk about it because radio plays from 1949 have feelings too. So without further ado, let us delve into the "Temple Under the Sea"! Wow!

Some dude just said Chaaan. Doo. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

So now a Mr. Chandler is asking for the keys to some house and this lady is like oh no, don’t go in there it’s cursed and he’s like ya I’m going in there and she’s like oh no, don’t. That’s basically what’s happening.

Also, they are on an island. If that helps anybody.

Now a dude is telling us to buy savings bonds, which seems like a smart thing to do.

They sound really cool. I wish I could get one.

Did you know that the secrets of magic are hidden in the Far East? I did not know that.

Apparently Frank Chandler has got all this magic from the Far East. This makes him very special. This also makes him Chandu.

We’re in Cairo guys.

We are in Cairo where a woman is dreaming.

In this dream, some other dude is asking a woman for something and she’s like no no, don’t ask me for this thing.

Granted I did not listen to this dream closely.

So far, dudes keep asking ladies for things and the ladies are like oh no, don’t keep asking me but they keep asking anyway.

The woman who was dreaming is named Dorothy and apparently she is awake now so it’s cool.

Frank is there and he’s dressed because he’s working and also he woke up Dorothy who is going on about her dream.

It’s an action-packed sequence.

There was singing and drums also in the dream.

So to summarise—island, girl, cave, singing, drums. And probably other things that I have left out.

Frank and Dorothy are siblings btw.

So Dorothy has had a dream about an island and Frank is just about to leave for an island.


Frank is going to a little Mediterranean island where two American counsels have disappeared one after the other.

Who are Betty and Bob?

I really love everyone’s names in this story so far.

So I guess Dorothy is going to this island with Frank. I’m so shocked this is happening.

The whole island apparently seems to be like something out of the Middle Ages.

I have no idea what that means.

If you Google "Middle Ages" you can see neat pictures of indifferent people being burned alive.

Oh someone is speaking! I think it’s Bob! Who is her son!

And it looks like Betty is his sister. Isn’t that nice. Now we know who everyone is.

They are on the island now I guess.

So Frank has gone to get the keys of the house from someone who is one of the missing dudes’ wives and she’s like oh no, don’t go in there ok please don’t do that all over again you guys.

She says that the house is Yasaki. I don’t know what that is.

Google says it’s a Japanese automotive supplier.

It’s probably not that Yasaki.

Frank says Yasaki means forbidden in Arabic.

That’s not what Google says tho.

Do we trust Frank or Google???!!!!

This lady says there’s a curse also.

I mean of course there’s a curse. How can there not be a curse in this story.

So it looks like Neil, her husband, was getting ready for a party but when the guests came he had disappeared. His evening clothes, however, had not disappeared.

Which means that wherever Neil is, he is in the nude.

The unseen eyes were watching, apparently.

The unseen eyes are pervy.

This is what would be referred to as chi-chi behaviour in some parts of my country.

Ok now they are pretending to be talking about something else but they are still talking about the unseen eyes.

But you talked about them before without pretending, no?

Anyway, Frank has the key and is leaving now.

And I think her name is Mrs. Christie.

Now some other dude called … Jalopy? Probably not Jalopy. Anyway, he asked her what they were talking about and she was like I told him what you told me to say. DUN DUN DUN.

Oh wow ok Jalopy is looking for a drawing? And there’s a chest?

No his name is definitely not Jalopy but I don’t know what it actually is so we’ll just call him Bad Guy.

He has an accent so I’m assuming he’s Bad Guy.

He said Temple Under the Sea in a very dramatic way. It was very affecting.

It wasn’t actually, I’m just trying to be nice.

Betty and Bob are talking about how Frank is going around tapping things with a hammer.

And when they asked him what he was looking for he was like, I don’t know.

If someone was going around the house tapping things with a hammer my first reaction would probably be to leave immediately. But that’s just me.

Bad Guy is at the door.

So Frank is there and everyone is just chatting and it’s not that interesting.

Dorothy has entered and has become overcome with emotion.

Could Bad Guy be the man of her dreams??????

Aaand he’s gone.

Dorothy says Bad Guy is the man from her dream! OH MY HECKING GOD

So now there is some back and forth happening which is not very interesting.

I really dig the way Frank talks tho.

In case anyone was wondering, in Dorothy’s dream there was a cave filled with uncanny blue light.

So everyone except Betty is headed to the cellar to … I’m not sure why.

There is an idea that this whole house may have been something else before.


Frank is now tapping the walls with his hammer.

He said listen to that! And Dorothy said that sounds hollow! But it all sounded the same to me.

I think Frank just put the hammer through the wall. Way to go Frank.

Lo! They have found a piece of paper! COULD IT BE THE DRAWING????


It’s the Temple Under the Sea! Just like the title of this radio drama!

Dorothy has somehow destroyed the drawing smooth move Dorothy.

Now they are all going back upstairs.

Frank is going to meet the British commissioner because he might know something about Bad Guy. I guess in radio world, this would be the logical thing to do.

Bob and Betty are going to walk half-way with him because they are going out on a boat.

Isn’t it night tho?

Why did I think it was night?

Frank is going to bring Mrs. Christie over and Dorothy just knows that something terrible is going to happen, she just knows it.

AN AD!!!!! I am full excite.

This is the best part of this show.

I think it’s for a detective show with someone called Gregory Hood.

This is not as compelling as the ad for savings bonds.

Oh the Mediterranean island has a name! Ruad? Ruad!

It’s five o’clock and Betty and Bob still aren’t home.

A knock at the door! Could it be Betty and Bob?????

It’s Bad Guy!

So he mentioned something about Betty and Bob and some cave and Dorothy is like how do I get there.

So she is now going with Bad Guy in his boat because that seems like the smart thing to do.

Frank is talking to the British commissioner now and he’s like oh Bad Guy thinks he’s the reincarnation of an ancient Phoenician priest.

I mean, who doesn’t think that from time to time.

He has also organized a cult on the island.

Again, who hasn’t done that from time to time.

They are worshippers of a pagan God! This show literally has everything in it.

The British commissioner was explaining where the Temple Under the Sea was but I wasn’t really listening. He said something about chariot wheels.

And the house Frank is staying in was built over an ancient Pagan temple.

The only things missing here are cannibals and a rain storm.

Meanwhile! Bad Guy is taking Dorothy into the cave because she thought it was a good idea to get into a boat with him.

Dorothy got out of the boat to find Betty and Bob and now, for some reason, she is shocked that Bad Guy is leaving her there.

Bad Guy said your brother should have given me the jewels and I was like what jewels and Dorothy was like what jewels and I was like I know Dorothy, what the heck!

Frank has come to his house with Mrs. Christie.

There’s some dude wailing and that is apparently the singing from the Temple of the Sea.

There is a hidden stairwell inside the wall and there’s a door.

So many exciting things in this house!

Frank is going to use his super powers from India to open this door! I had forgotten about those.

I will not say anything about these Indian super powers.

The powers weren’t that impressive but they seem to have opened the door.

It’s the Temple! And look! There’s Dorothy!

So it looks like Betty and Bob are alright and weren’t even down there in the first place.

Can you believe Bad Guy was lying? Like, can you believe it?

Now Bad Guy has arrived and it’s all just like the dream! Wow!

There seems to be a chest of jewels suddenly. I have no idea where they came from.

They were hidden under the step. Ok then.

Um … I think they are having a sword fight? And there was mention of jewel thieves but I don’t really know what’s going on.

Whatever it was, Frank won.

Dorothy was like how did I dream all this and Frank was like not many men have sisters who dream such useful things. Which is a very weird thing to say at a time like that, no?

And I think that’s it! Wow.

What can we say about this radio play? We can say that it had many exciting elements, like at least they were mentioned in passing. And that’s always fun. I guess that’s about it.

Kuzhali Manickavel's collections Things We Found During the Autopsy, Insects Are Just like You and Me except Some of Them Have Wings and chapbooks The Lucy Temerlin Institute for Broken Shapeshifters Guide to Starving Boys and Eating Sugar, Telling Lies are available from Blaft Publications, Chennai. Her work has also appeared in Granta, Strange Horizons, Agni, Subtropics, Michigan Quarterly Review and DIAGRAM. She used to blog at She's now at
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